By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor’s in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
It can be difficult to know whether blocking someone in your phone is truly necessary, especially if you’re the kind or forgiving type. If you’re considering blocking someone, whether an ex, an online creep, or even a social media account that’s draining your energy, here are five signs it’s time, according to experts.
They’re harassing you.
Harassment should never be tolerated from anyone, and it doesn’t always look like stalking or showing up at your door. As clinical psychologist Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy tells mbg, it can look like someone messaging you all the time, even if you haven’t answered or have asked them to stop reaching out. The definition of harassment is “aggressive pressure or intimidation,” so if you feel that to be true in this scenario, don’t hesitate to hit “block.”
They’re draining your energy.
According to licensed marriage and family therapist Tiana Leeds, M.A., LMFT, blocking those who “haunt us, hurt us, or hold us back, can help us take our power back both practically and symbolically.” For example, she says, you can certainly block an internet troll or someone who has been intentionally unkind online, in order to draw a boundary that protects you from headache and harm. There’s nothing wrong with protecting your energy!
They’re not respecting your boundaries.
Great relationships start with great sleep.*
Leeds and Neo both recommend watching out for disrespected boundaries, which can look like any number of things. Perhaps you’ve told your most recent love interest to refrain from hitting you with a “you up?” text at 2 a.m., for example, but they still do it anyway. Or maybe you have an ex who won’t stop trying to reconnect, despite you clearly telling them you don’t want to have any contact.
“This would also be an appropriate time to take matters into your own hands and hit the ‘block’ button. You don’t owe anyone access to you,” Leeds says.
They’re guilt tripping you or being passive aggressive.
People will do all kinds of things in order to access you, and that includes things like guilt tripping, gaslighting, or any sort of passive aggressive behavior. And according to Neo, that’s certainly grounds for blocking.
If they’re emotionally demanding, talking about things that require emotional labor on your part, expecting you to be constantly available to them–you don’t have to put up with it. Neo explains that they may try to make you feel bad for not answering them, but don’t let it sway you. Listen to your gut.
Their behavior is repetitive with no signs of improvement.
And lastly, get clear on whether this person is displaying one-off instances of undesirable behavior infrequently, or if it’s repetitive with no improvement, even after you’ve voiced concerns. Of course, if the one-off instance is egregious enough to warrant a block, that’s entirely your call. If you are more forgiving or still want to try keeping the lines of communication open, perhaps you let it slide this once and let them know in no uncertain terms that you need your digital boundaries to be respected. If they continue to show repetitive bad behavior, blocking them may be the only way to avoid more frustration in the long run.
The bottom line.
You don’t owe anyone your patience or kindness if they’re overstepping your boundaries, harassing you, or just generally making your life more difficult.
As Leeds puts it, “Who we surround ourselves with, both in-person and on social media, affects us on a deep level. We can help protect our safety and peace of mind by blocking the people and accounts that impact us most negatively.”